Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya on Tuesday suspended four officials after an under-construction flyover collapsed in Varanasi, killing at least 15 people, News18 reported. Maurya also announced the setting up of a Setu Suraksha Cell to prevent such incidents.
District Magistrate Yogeshwar Ram Mishra told reporters that the toll from the incident was 15 and not 18, as it was reported earlier, according to ANI.
“Project manager HC Tiwari, assistant project manager KR Sudan, assistant engineer Rajesh Singh and junior engineer Lal Chand were suspended with immediate effect,” Maurya said. “A three-member technical committee has been constituted to carry out an investigation and submit a report within a fortnight.” Four officials have been appointed to replace them.
R Mittal, Managing Director of the UP State Bridge Corporation, told ANI that a “lock of the bearing underneath the beam” may have broken during the recent thunderstorms in the region. “Traffic should have been diverted away from construction site. We should learn from this incident,” he added. Mittal said teams have been formed to identify sites where construction is ongoing and report security lapses.
Senior Superintendent of Police R K Bharadwaj said that a man working as a sweeper in a hospital was arrested after reports of money being taken by hospital staff to conduct autopsies. A First Information Report had been filed, he added.
Two pillars of the under-construction structure had collapsed bringing down a concrete slab over a local bus and several cars, NDTV reported. A major rescue operation involving the National Disaster Response Force was initiated after the incident.
Chief Minister Adityanath said he has set up a committee to investigate the incident. The chief minister also announced Rs 5 lakh as compensation for families of those who died in the incident and Rs 2 lakh for those injured.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is also the Varanasi MP, took to Twitter to express his sadness over the incident. “I spoke to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minsiter Adityanath about the situation,” Modi said. “The state government is monitoring the situation very closely and is working on the ground to assist the affected.”